Creating secure, loving relationships is at the core of healthy child parent bonds in all families, especially in families of adoption where new relationships are formed.
Your child’s ability to feel secure within close relationships is ultimately an indication of his attachment health. Attachment concerns can be noticed in people of all ages.
The foundation of forming a healthy attachment with your child is ultimately based on PRESENCE, RESPECT, and EMPATHY.
Attachment is not a process that can’t be destroyed in a moment or event, nor can it be created overnight. The attachment process takes time, effort, love, cultivation and nurturing.
The early years, specifically from 0-3 are so important in the lifespan. Unfortunately, sometimes children experience neglect, trauma, and / or just the continual connection from a caregiver during this time. This can create a disturbance or absence in the attachment process.
Regardless of your child’s history though, he almost certainly has the ability to form a healthy, secure, attached relationship with you. It does require some specific connection efforts though. If early childhood trauma is present in these years though, therapy and specific, concerted parent connection efforts can help establish the neuro-pathways in his brain that are necessary for healthy attachment between a child and a parent. Long-term, healthy attachment supports someone’s ability to have healthy friendships and relationships later on in life as well.
Following, are 3 TIPS that can help support healthy attachment in your family, regardless of whether your child regardless of age.
The key is to keep focused on presence, respect, and empathy to enhance and support the relationships you want to develop with your children.
- Be PRESENT with your child
Use touch, eye contact, and emotional attunement. Put away the electronics and block off time each day to truly connect with your child. It will support his feelings of worthiness, connection, and emotional safety with you.
- Be RESPECTFUL
Treat your child with respect, regardless of age. Talk to your child in tones and with words that send the messages of “I love you.”, “I respect you” and “You are important to me.”. It will support his self-esteem development, feelings of worthiness, and create an emotionally safe relationship with you.
- Be EMPATHETIC
Imagine what the situation is like for your child. Behavior issues stemming from poor attachment or week emotional self-regulation skills can put a strain on your child parent relationship for sure. It’s so important to KEEP YOUR COOL (step away, take some deep, rejuvenating breaths, and think about something else if necessary) when your child’s behavior(s) trigger emotional upset in you. Remember, if your child feels like you care, the relationship (and healthy attachment) will flourish.